Richard Branson

Born: 1950

Occupation: Business Man/Investor/Entrepreneur

Challenges overcome: Dyslexia

Successes, Achievements & Awards:

Richard Branson was born in Blackheath, London and the eldest of three children born to barrister Edward James Branson (1918–2011), and Eve Branson (born 1924), a former ballet dancer and air hostess. Branson has two younger sisters. His grandfather, the Right Honourable Sir George Arthur Harwin Branson, was a judge of the High Court of Justice and a Privy Councillor. Richard Branson was educated at Scaitcliffe School, a prep school in Berkshire, before briefly attending Cliff View House School in Sussex. Branson attended Stowe School, an independent school in Buckinghamshire until the age of sixteen. Richard Branson has dyslexia and had poor academic performance as a student, and on his last day at school, his headmaster, Robert Drayson, told him he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire.

In 1993, Richard Branson was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Technology from University. In the New Year’s Honours list dated 30 December 1999, Elizabeth II signified her intention to confer the honour of Knight Bachelor on him for his “services to entrepreneurship”. He was knighted by Charles, Prince of Wales on 30 March 2000 at an investiture in Buckingham Palace. Branson started his record business from a church where he ran The Student magazine. Branson eventually started a record shop in Oxford Street in London. In 1971. Earning enough money from his record store, Branson in 1972 launched the record label Virgin Records with Nik Powell and bought a country estate north of Oxford, in which he installed a residential recording studio, The Manor Studio. He leased out studio time to fledgling artists, including multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield, whose debut album Tubular Bells (1973) was the first release for Virgin Records and became a chart-topping best-seller. Richard Branson formed Virgin Atlantic Airways in 1984, launched Virgin Mobile in 1999, and Virgin Blue in Australia (now named Virgin Australia) in 2000. He was ninth in the Sunday Times Rich List 2006, worth slightly more than £3 billion.

In March 2004, Richard Branson set a record by travelling from Dover to Calais in a Gibbs Aquada in 1 hour, 40 minutes and 6 seconds, the fastest crossing of the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle. In January 1991, Richard Branson crossed the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada, 6,700 miles (10,800 km), in a balloon of 2,600,000 cubic feet (74,000 m3). This broke the record, with a speed of 245 miles per hour (394 km/h).

In 2000, Richard Branson received the ‘Tony Jannus Award’ for his accomplishments in commercial air transportation.

Richard Branson appears at No. 85 on the 2002 list of “100 Greatest Britons” (sponsored by the BBC and voted for by the public). Richard Branson was also ranked in 2007’s Time magazine “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World”. In 2009, Richard Branson was voted the UK’s “Celebrity Dream Boss” in an opinion poll by Cancer Research UK
On 7 December 2007, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon presented Richard Branson with the United Nations Correspondents Association Citizen of the World Award for his support for environmental and humanitarian causes. On 24 January 2011, Richard Branson was awarded the German Media Prize (organised by “Media Control Charts”), previously handed to former US president Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama.

On 14 November 2011, Richard Branson was awarded the ISTA Prize by the International Space Transport Association in The Hague for his pioneering achievements in the development of suborbital transport systems with “Virgin Galactic”.

On 11 February 2012, Richard Branson was honoured with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ President’s Merit Award for his contributions to the music industry. In 2013, Branson received an honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from Kaunas Technology University in Kaunas, Lithuania.  On 15 May 2014, Richard Branson received the 2014 Business for Peace Award, awarded annually by the Business for Peace Foundation in Oslo, Norway. On September 2014, Branson was recognized by The Sunday Times as the most admired business person over the last five decades.

Challenges Overcome

“My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them … from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it.”

Disability Definitions

Dyslexia, also known as alexia or developmental reading disorder, is characterised by difficulties when learning to read and with differing language comprehension despite normal or above-average intelligence. This includes difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, language skills and verbal comprehension, or rapid naming of objects. Dyslexia only affects some skills and abilities and is not linked to a person’s general level of intelligence.


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Richard Branson. (2015, May 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:10, May 13, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Richard_Branson&oldid=661978304

Image source: Wikicommons

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